How Smart Homes Could Benefit from Energy Management Systems

Sustainability and Green Building

As smart technology and connected devices increase in demand, so does the importance of managing their energy use and software. The new ENERGY STAR Smart Home Energy Management Systems (SHEMS) Program establishes standards in this arena. For instance, many home buyers want security cameras, video doorbells and programmable thermostats for security and an increased sense of control. These features can increase the energy load in the home, so the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a standard for the energy management of all these systems.

Falling under the robust ENERGY STAR brand, SHEMS is a package of other ENERGY STAR-certified devices and services.

The goal of the program is to ensure that devices are running efficiently and only when needed. In other words, it’s a smart-home service platform and a combination of smart-home devices that connect and subsequently:

  • Sense occupancy in the home;
  • Schedule and automate energy based on occupancy;
  • Report that energy to users; and
  • Control devices based on time-of-use electric rates.

To be considered a package, devices must include at least one ENERGY STAR-certified smart thermostat, at least two connected lighting devices (such as an ENERGY STAR bulb or fixture), and one plug load control/management device (home energy monitor, smart plug, etc.). To optimize control of other devices, encouraged (but optional) technologies include refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, pool pumps, air conditioners and other ENERGY STAR-certified devices.

Version 1 of the SHEMS specification was finalized in fall 2019; performance metrics and the first certified SHEMS packages are expected to be rolled out later in 2020. SHEMS becomes an ENERGY STAR-certified product when many devices are bundled and combined with various services that monitor and control energy use in the home, communicate with the cloud, and interact with the grid.

A program like this could be vital for saving consumers money through smart energy management, particularly as residents become more educated about ongoing home maintenance costs, the total cost of homeownership, and have the desire to keep utility bills low. To learn more about becoming a partner and to view webinars based on your company’s services, visit ENERGY STAR's website.

For more information about NAHB’s sustainable and green building programs, visit To stay current on the high-performance residential building sector, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.

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